Challenge Cup exit made us kick on, says Wigan’s Tommy Leuluai

Wigan half-back Thomas Leuluai has traced his club’s strong finish to the regular Super League season back to their failure to reach Wembley.

The Warriors lifted the League Leaders’ Shield for the first time in eight years on Friday night after beating Huddersfield 19-6 in the last fixture of the regular season to earn a week off and a place in the play-off semi-finals.

It was a sixth win from the last seven games but Leuluai says their late-season surge in form was largely a result of a heart-to-heart talk in the aftermath of their 26-12 defeat by Leeds in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup at the start of October.

The veteran Leuluai, who made his 300th appearance for Wigan on Friday night and is in talks over his future, also points to the Warriors’ shock 34-18 league defeat by bottom-of-the-table Hull KR a month earlier.

“I think we’ve had a couple of big losses at the right time,” he said. “That Leeds loss was massive.

“I know it’s gutting to lose a semi-final of the Challenge Cup but we had a good, honest look at ourselves.

“It was a blessing in disguise really and it was the same with the Hull KR one. They were two good wake-up calls.

“Sometimes, those things you learn from. Ever since then, we’ve been pretty good.”

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